Was Rosa Parks Nearly Raped?

Parks rides a Montgomery, Ala. bus after a Supreme Court ruling ended segration, 1956. Photo: Bettmann-Corbis

21 Dec 1956, Montgomery, Alabama, USA --- Rosa Parks sits in the front of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, after the Supreme Court ruled segregation illegal on the city bus system on December 21st, 1956. Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955 for refusing to give up her seat in the front of a bus in Montgomery set off a successful boycott of the city busses. Man sitting behind Parks is Nicholas C. Chriss, a reporter for United Press International out of Atlanta. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

A recently found first-person essay written by Rosa Parks details a harrowing attempted rape, which has some wondering if the civil rights activist once had a brush with sexual assault. A representative from the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in Detroit, an institute Parks helped create, disputed the idea, saying the essay is a work of fiction. Still, the six-page document is being included with thousands of documents of the civil rights activist in the Manhattan warehouse and the offices of Guernsey's Auctioneers. Civil rights historian Danielle McGuire said an attempted rape could help explain Parks’ lifelong campaign against the ritualistic rape of black women by white men.